How to Prepare Your Dog For the New Baby

New Baby in the House? Training Your Dog for Change…So you’re going to have a baby! You just received this exciting news, and now you’re venturing into major ‘mom mode.’

You find yourself grinding your brain to figure out exactly how much you have to prepare for, and what the next steps will be in your life. It was so simple… you, your husband/boyfriend, your house, your job and of course, your beloved dog. Things are about to go up a notch, as you introduce a beautiful new baby into your world. But of all the things you need to prepare for how do you prepare your dog for the new baby?

Amidst everything, it is so important to remember your dog, and how the new baby will affect him.

How do you think he will handle it?

Has he been around children before?

So many things come into play when introducing a baby into the world. The decisions you make right now with your dog, will have a huge impact when the baby does come.

You may be wondering what the big deal is, and how exactly having a baby has anything to do with your dog. In reality, it has EVERYTHING to do with your dog. I mean, think about it, right now, your dog has 100% of the attention. Give or take a few for the hubby, the job, etc… but you get the idea. When the baby comes, your dogs whole world will be changing, it may even crash. If the proper steps are not taken, your dog could end up suffering from anxiety, and jealousy.

How to Prepare Your Dog for the New Baby:

1. First Things First – Training

If you have a few months before the baby is due, that’s a great start! Now is a great time, to start some obedience training with your dog. Basic training commands will simply make your job easier when your dog gets overly excited etc…

2. Take Time to Socialize Your Dog

He needs to know what it’s like to experience new smells, new surroundings, new people. Basically, he needs to experience change, and know that it is a positive thing.

3. Has Your Dog Had Experience With Children?

If not, a good place to start may be a playground. Take your dog to a park, sit down on a bench, and let your dog see how children behave. If you have a friend with a child, now would be a good time to introduce the two of them. Monitor them closely, and watch how your dog reacts to the child. Was he nervous? Was he comfortable?

4. When the Baby Comes, Your Whole Routine Will Change

That means the dogs routine changes as well. Start making those changing before the baby arrives. Consider things like different sleep schedules, waking up through the night, and if dog walking times will be changing, change them now, and help your dog get used to these subtle differences that will soon be a part of his life.

5. Touch Is Super Important

Is your dog used to your touch?

How about when other people touch him?

Help your dog get used to his paws being touched, rub his ears, find out if there are any areas on his body where he is uncomfortable with you touching. When (and if) you discover them, work very slowly with your dog to help him feel comfortable with the areas he is currently nervous with.

6. Household Rules Need to Be Taken Into Consideration as Well

Is your dog allowed on your bed? Or your furniture?

Will he still be allowed on the furniture when the baby arrives?

If not, now is the time to start enforcing those rules, do not wait until the baby arrives.

New Baby Close to Your DogAmong all of these things you are preparing for, one key thing to remember, is that your dog has feelings, and a ‘whole lotta’ love for you. It is absolutely normal for a new baby to get most of your attention, but you simply cannot forget about your dog. Try your best to keep walking him daily, set aside some time to spend with him - just you and him. If you have a certain time in the day which you play with the dog, try and keep that time. And as your baby grows, include him in spending time with the dog. Let your child help with small training exercises, and other things like that. It would mean the world to your 4 legged friend.

By taking these steps, and preparing your dog, you are already well on your way to making sure your baby, and your fur-baby will have a wonderful relationship together – a pack, a family.

It is my belief that every child should grow up with pets. What are your thoughts on that? Share with us in the comments!

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jenna drady headshotJenna Drady

Jenna Drady  is the author and creator of ownedbyahusky.ca. She is a mother of two beautiful daughters and 3 Siberian Huskies. Being a husky mom for a long duration of her life, Jenna was inspired to begin writing about them. In doing so, she began doing massive research on dog behavior, and all things dog in general. Jenna is inspired every day by her family, and loves to bring her readers valuable information as well as a little humor too! Jenna has created her own business partnered with her lovely mother while blogging called Pawz N Clawz Jewelry N Things. They currently sell handmade jewelry with added pet charms, as well as a few dog toys too!  As an animal rights activist, and huge believer in helping pets who have been stuck in shelters, they donate a portion of their sales to local shelters throughout Canada.

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23 Responses to How to Prepare Your Dog For the New Baby

  1. Jan K says:

    Absolutely, children should grow up with pets! And any family adding a baby who has existing pets needs to be completely ready in every way. There’s nothing worse than hearing a pet ended up in a shelter because someone had a new baby, and they couldn’t handle it all.

  2. I’ve seen classes offered too where trainers discuss how to best integrate a baby/dog household.

  3. Robin says:

    This is excellent advice! I love that you mention getting the dog used to children and to a new routine. Change can be hard for anyone, but you can ease them into it. :)

  4. Excellent advice. So important to consider your dog and prepare them for the baby.

  5. Cathy Keisha says:

    We were worried when our neighbor with 2 dogs, including a rescue pitbull was preggers. We advised her to buy the dogs a baby doll to get them used to another body in the house. After the baby was born, we advised her to bring a blanket from the baby’s to let the dogs sniff it. They did great! We had read this advice on a blog.

  6. Carol Bryant says:

    I am so glad you shared these tips. I am writing a series on dogs and biting and this is a great post to share!

  7. Jo says:

    Great info! It’s just such an important topic!
    I really like your tips, and I also think it’s important to estimate how much time you’ll reasonably have available to spend with your dog once you have a newborn and change this slowly well before baby arrives. The last thing we want is a negative association with the new arrival! A book I found really useful on this topic is “Tell Your Dog You’re Pregnant” by Dr Lewis Kirkham.

  8. De Hufford says:

    Great post! Yes, the dogs are effected and giving them the chance to succeed is in everyone’s best interest!

    • Jenna Drady says:

      Exactly! Setting a dog up for success. That is one of my biggest mottoes. It’s so important that your dog knows that there will be changes coming to your life and his, when the new baby arrives.

  9. Lisa says:

    Great article…so many people don’t even consider how the dog will feel when a baby comes into your life! You should post this article on “new” parents sites, there a lot of good suggestions here for making the transition easier :)

  10. Mary H says:

    Great point about household rules. When baby comes, I think people often change the rules or start enforcing rules that they have been lax at enforcing, which can be so confusing for the dog.

  11. Cathy Armato says:

    This is SUCH important information for any new parent. All of these tips are really critical, but I think #5 is particularly important. You don’t want a baby to pull your dog’s ear or tail and have the dog snap at the baby! My niece is having a baby in 6 weeks and I’m going to send this to her. Thanks for this great info!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Jenna Drady says:

      First of all, best wishes for your niece and her coming baby!!!! Second, I agree SO much!!! I am always fiddling around with my dogs ears, Paws etc… Just so that they are used to having their more sensitive areas touched. This way, if someone was to touch them there, it is much less of a shock to them, and can definitely prevent a bite!

  12. Four months before the baby comes Gradually introduce your dog to the new experiences, sights, sounds and smells she’ll encounter when you bring your baby home, and associate these new things with rewards.

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